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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:57 17th September 2011

Hughes And Burgess Net In 2-0 Win

An organised Notts County were the first team to defeat Stevenage in the league at the Lamex Stadium this season, as they claimed a 2-0 victory.

The game almost got off to a bad start for Notts, when the hosts were awarded a penalty. However, Stuart Nelson produced an outstanding save to deny Craig Reid - a great moment on the goalkeeper's birthday.

Little goalmouth action followed until first half injury time, where the Magpies created two good chances. Lee Hughes, bringing an extended goalmouth scramble to an end, tucked the second away and danced in front of the travelling fans behind the goal.

Five minutes after the break, Ben Burgess added County's second with a header inside the home stopper's near post. It was the frontman's second goal in as many games, following his equaliser against Exeter City in midweek.

Stevenage huffed and puffed but struggled to break down the Notts backline in their search for a way back into the match. Martin Allen's side saw out the final minutes comfortably to make it four games unbeaten in the league.

Both teams had experienced a similar start to the campaign, having taken 13 points from the opening eight games. Stevenage were unbeaten at home and went into the match on the back of a 5-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday, but the Magpies were also feeling confident after taking seven points from a possible nine in their last three games.

With Alan Sheehan suspended, Jon Harley filled in at left-back for his first appearance of the campaign, as part of three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Exeter. Lee Hughes replaced Cristian Montano in attack and Charlie Allen came in for Alan Judge in midfield.

Boro set the pace early on and should have gone ahead on seven minutes, after they were awarded a penalty when Krystian Pearce was seen to have tripped Reid in the area. The frontman took the spot kick himself, firing into the bottom-right corner but was denied by a superb Nelson save.

Notts' first attempt came from a direct free kick, 25 yards out. Jeff Hughes struck well but the home goalkeeper Chris Day gathered comfortably on his line.

Darius Charles dragged wide for the hosts in a rare opportunity at goal. It was proving to be a scrappy midfield battle, with any glimpses of goal-scoring opportunities coming from a direct approach.

Lee Hughes twice broke free of the home backline from Burgess flick-ons but was marginally offside on both occasions. For Stevenage, Charles latched on to a diagonal ball to the back post but he was unable to generate enough power in his header to seriously test Nelson.

On 30 minutes, Allen was booked for a late challenge on Jon Ashton. Moments later, Judge was introduced in his place as a precaution.

As the game edged towards the interval, both outfits created half chances. Lee Hughes ghosted past his marker before having a shot blocked, Neal Bishop fired wide from range and, for Boro, Charles had a strong hit deflected wide by a brave Jeff Hughes block.

During three minutes of added time, County came agonisingly close, following fine work on the channel by Lee Hughes, which ended with him curling in a low cross. Jeff Hughes waited at the back post, only for his placed finish to be kept out by the knee of Day.

But, there was still time for a goal, because from the resulting corner, the Magpies went ahead. Stevenage were unable to clear and amidst calls for a penalty for handball, Lee Hughes prodded home from close-range.

Stevenage

Stevenage provided an early scare just moments into the second period, when Lawrie Wilson carved open the Notts defence with a surging run and a lofted pass onto the right wing. Half time substitute Chris Beardsley's grounded centre escaped Pearce inside the six-yard box but he was still able to do enough to prevent Reid from hitting the target.

On 50 minutes, Jon Harley won the ball on the left wing with a strong tackle, allowing Jeff Hughes to roam into space. His searching delivery found Burgess, who directed into bottom corner with a stooping header.

Harley was replaced by Cristian Montano shortly after receiving a yellow card - a switch that saw Jeff Hughes revert to left-back. Lee Hughes was also substituted and Karl Hawley took his place.

Although chasing the game, Boro were largely restricted in the final third, though they did have hopeful attempts through Charles' looping header and Michael Bostwick's punt from distance. Their best effort came from substitute Josh Walker on 79 minutes, when he placed just past the foot of the post from 12 yards.

Five minutes of added time was displayed by the fourth official, much due to an injury to one of the assistant referees. The Magpies saw out the duration without looking stretched and made it 10 points from a possible 12, at the same time climbing to seventh in the table.

Attendance: 3,434 (661 away supporters)

Man of the Match: Ben Burgess

    Data provided by Press Association

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